Zeds is a curious new game from the team at Chunk in Glasgow. Created in conjunction with Channel 4 Education, the game has been designed to teach teenagers about sleep in a fun, entertaining and unique way.
Teenagers are often unaware that disturbed sleep patterns and a rough nights sleep, thanks to studying, exams, or other issues can have a profound impact on their daily lives.
The Zeds app is placed on the corner of the user’s bed upon retiring for the evening. From there, Zeds records the whole night’s sleep and uses that data to generate and build levels, which can then be played in the game itself.
Chunk commissioned BAFTA award-winning animation team, The Brothers McLeod, to bring the game characters and environments to life. Zeds is also supported by Professor Russell Foster (FRS), Professor of Circadian Neuroscience at Oxford University. Professor Foster is world expert on the effects of sleeping patterns on teenagers and provided information within the game, to explain the impact of different sleep patterns.
Anything that increases the awareness of the importance of good sleep practices, especially for this age group is very important, and I’m very supportive of it. People underestimate teenagers, but if you explain to them why they need more sleep, many will respond – but if you force them, they won’t do it. So anything that helps inform that view of the world is very important.
If you don’t sleep properly your ability to think creatively, to solve problems, your sense of humour – everything that makes us special human organisms – is lost. Sleep needs to be at the centre of our world.
Faraz Osman, editor of education at Channel 4, said:
We wanted to encourage teenagers to both switch off from their gadgets, and help them understand the benefits of doing so. New research is revealing that sleep is a vital part of education and development and impacts on so many elements of life for teens, and yet is often overlooked, or felt to be unimportant. We wanted something that could alter that perception in an intelligent way.
Channel 4’s brief was to present the facts about sleep to teenagers, in a format they’d engage with, to help them come to their own conclusions about their sleeping habits and how it affects them.
Tracking their sleep, and then delivering the data as a game, is as direct, entertaining and memorable way of doing that as we can imagine. And, importantly, it’s a unique idea that will catch their interest in the first place.
We’re not aware of any other games, for iOS or other platforms, which uses a new form of data input to generate levels. While iOS and Android smartphones have multiple capabilities in terms of input and output, the vast majority of games are content to stick to the expected and ‘normal’. As huge fans of generative content, we’re impressed at Chunk’s approach to Zeds and we’re now off to download the game, have a lovely mug of cocoa, slip into a snuggly adult onsie and head back to bed for a snooze.
Go and get Zeds, catch some zeds and play some zeds. Yes, in that order.